Athens, Ga.- University of Georgia graduate Jessica Van Parys, who earned combined bachelor’s/master’s degrees in economics and a bachelor’s degree in political science in May, has been awarded a Jacob K. Javits Graduate Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
Van Parys, who was enrolled in UGA’s Honors Program, is using both fellowships to support her doctoral studies in economics at Columbia University this fall.
“Jessica is very deserving of the national recognition for her research work that these fellowships represent,” said David S. Williams, director of UGA’s Honors Program. “It has been wonderful to watch her growth as a scholar the past few years. Her work is truly exceptional and impressive, and it reflects her creativity and dedication. I expect great things from her in the future.”
The Javits Fellowship Program is named for the late U.S. senator for his support of education and the arts. The fellowship provides financial assistance, up to four years, to academically outstanding students who are pursuing doctoral or M.F.A. studies in selected fields of arts, humanities and social sciences.
The three-year NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are awarded to students with superior academic records who are pursuing research-based graduate studies in mathematics, science and engineering.
“It is a tremendous honor to receive the Jacob K. Javits and National Science Foundation graduate fellowships in economics,” said Van Parys, who is from Suwanee. “These achievements were made possible by the wonderful mentorship that I received at the University of Georgia and the support of family and friends.”
While at UGA, Van Parys was involved in a number of research endeavors. However, she said her research on the SAT redesign in 2007 provided the best opportunity to gain skills for a career in academia. As a summer research fellow in the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO), she worked with economics professors David Mustard and Christopher Cornwell in UGA’s Terry College of Business on the SAT project. Examining data from the 2006 freshman class, they found that scores on the new writing section enhanced the prediction of students’ academic success in the first year of college.
Van Parys presented the research findings at two undergraduate research symposiums in spring 2008 hosted by CURO. She also participated in the American Education Finance Association 2008 conference in Denver and in the “Rethinking Admissions” conference at Wake Forest University in April 2009.
The research findings also made national headlines in The Christian Science Monitor and The Chronicle of Higher Education since it was the first independent study to examine the implications of the SAT redesign. The paper is now under review for publication.
Van Parys was a participant in the first May term study-abroad program to China, through UGA’s School of Public and International Affairs in 2006, and studied abroad at the University of Oxford in England that fall.
Her extracurricular activities included participating in the Security Leadership Program through UGA’s Center for International Trade and Security and serving as a peer tutor with UGA’s Division of Academic Enhancement. She also interned with the Athens-Clarke County Public Information Office and mentored a middle-school child through the Athens-Clarke County Mentoring Program.
For more information on the Javits Fellowship Program, see http://www.ed.gov/programs/jacobjavits/index.html.
For more information on the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program, see http://www.nsfgrfp.org.
For more information on UGA’s Honors Program, see http://www.uga.edu/honors.